HCL Issue 10 - Page 35

35 CUTTING THE CRAP We would argue that since STPs cannot walk, we should use the term ‘areas’ instead. IS IT USEFUL? Only if you’re walking on a beach. IRRITATION LEVEL 2 6 Service user DEFINITION As the name suggests, a service user is a person who uses or has used healthcare services. So far, nothing too complicated. NHS England deploys the term ‘service user’ as an alternative to ‘patient’. However, in 2010, a study by the Royal College of Psychiatrists recommended national and local healthcare providers use the term ‘patient’ rather than ‘service user’ when referring to people receiving mental health treatment. The study highlighted that ‘service user’ was, in general, more disliked than liked by patients. CUTTING THE CRAP If the people accessing health services don’t like being referred to as service users, do we need another reason to ditch this jargon? 4 Pump-priming DEFINITION Here we go, another idiom that doesn’t seem to belong in the healthcare language. The online dictionary Merriam-Webster traces the term pump-priming to the early 19th century, explaining that it denotes ‘government investment expenditures designed to induce a self-sustaining expansion of economic activity’. CUTTING THE CRAP Here is an example of how pump-priming can be used in a sentence: ‘The struggling trust has renewed its call for a pump-prime investment in order to fund new models of care.’ IS IT USEFUL? No, this is yet another example of jargon that isn’t needed. Next time, just ask for more money. Thank you. IRRITATION LEVEL 1 5 Footprints DEFINITION We’re sure you’ve heard of footprints. Although the noun ‘footprint’ is well used in the NHS, especially when referring to sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs), it originally simply referred to the mark left by a foot or shoe on a surface. IS IT USEFUL? Only if you want to upset people. No need to complicate things; just say ‘patient’. IRRITATION LEVEL 1 7 Low-hanging fruit DEFINITION The term low-hanging fruit can be quite literal: an online image search will, for example, mostly show you pictures of apples. So how does that fit within the healthcare sector? When applied to situations that require change or solutions to problems, it’s a piece of jargon that describes a work or action that can be done easily, without much effort. For example, NHS England once said that low-hanging fruit for prevention in the NHS is available in ‘the early detection and improved management of high-risk conditions’. 8 Drill down DEFINITION The expression ‘drill down’ is mostly found in the IT sector. It denotes the action of looking for something on a computer or a website by narrowing the search from general to specific data. Here is an example of how NHS England has used the term: ‘The dashboard also allows users to highlight specific discharge outcomes and drill down functionality to individual patients for a deeper analysis.’ Very clear. CUTTING THE CRAP Well, since the NHS’s definition has got us quite confused, shall we stick to scrutinising? IS IT USEFUL? Only if you have a drill. IRRITATION LEVEL 2 9 Granularity DEFINITION You might have heard CCG leads say ‘we need more granularity to assess the plans for the next financial year’. The noun granularity designates something whose condition or quality is granular. It refers to the level of detail that is included in a model, decision-making process or set of data. The greater the granularity, the more detailed the information. CUTTING THE CRAP We would argue that people who use the word ‘granularity’ think they sound more knowledgeable. After all, isn’t the term swankier than ‘more detail’? IS IT USEFUL? No, this is another example of jargon that serves no purpose. Next time, just ask for more information. IRRITATION LEVEL 3 10 Boarding DEFINITION Hospitals resort to boarding when services operate under strain. It means moving patients from a specialty ward to a ward treating different illnesses in order to accommodate a new influx. In 2013, Scottish academics said that boarding at a system level is a false economy, as it increases the length of patients’ stay and exacerbates the issue it’s meant to tackle. CUTTING THE CRAP Despite being popular in a business context, the metaphor has no place in the healthcare vocabulary. Here are a few alternative expressions you can use instead: quick win, simple solution, quick fix. You’re welcome. CUTTING THE CRAP If academics believe that moving patients from one ward to another is bad for them and for the healthcare system, surely neither the practice nor the word should remain in the NHS vernacular? IS IT USEFUL? Yes, if you’re craving apples but don’t have a ladder. IS IT USEFUL? Only if you’re going on holiday. IRRITATION LEVEL 3 IRRITATION LEVEL 3 Healthcare Leader 2019 Issue 10